Bandanas, The Lion King, and a Plastic Ukulele

I did not like high school. The transition from a public junior high school to a private high school poses for a multitude of social barriers. In other words, I had little to no friends. The cliques had already been established since kindergarten and there was no way of penetrating into the thick wall of judgement. At this same time, I started working at summer camp with an incredible group of people dedicated to serving the Lord, each other, and all the campers. Being surrounded by an encouraging life-giving group of people is everything to me. The contrast from my petty high school circles to my lasting camp circles was like the difference between good and bad coffee. My second summer of working at camp, all of us guy counselors tore up a bandana and wore a piece of it on our wrists, uniting us to each other and prompting us to hold each other accountable. The beautiful image of wearing the bandana on our wrists attempted to emulate the perfect relationship observed in the trinity.

My name at camp was Timon. You know? That cool meerkat from the Lion King. This name has become more than just a character from one of the greatest Disney movies ever. Whenever a past camp member calls me Timon, a tie to the incredible mission of camp floods back into memory. It reminds me that I’m liked to a community that transcends just my time at camp, and ultimately it reminds me that I am part of a community that stretches worldwide and seeks to bring the Kingdom of God.

Camp has taught me the importance of being surrounded by encouraging people. Which brings me to something that I originally had been very self conscious about: music. In elementary school I had consistently been made fun of for singing to myself. So come high school where music is starting to play a huge role in my life, a supportive community has incredible influence on my passions. Around that same time I picked up a small plastic ukulele from my little sisters room and started messing around with it. This out of tune sorry excuse of an instrument could have been shunned away by my friends, but was rather encouraged by my patient peers. This small hobby evolved into what I ended up studying at Whitworth University and what might turn to be what I end up doing vocationally.

The fellowship of humanity was never designed to be discouraging. I have experienced this truth throughout my five summers serving at summer camp and being immersed in a rich group of loving people. King Solomon, the man of wisdom, knew this full well writing “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17



  1. Reply
    Laurie Lyons says

    I like it! Let’s all try to inspirational rather than discouragingly negative.

  2. Reply
    Charles Branch says

    Exactly, You’ve got it, my friend. Just as pastor Craig said, “Look around,” there’s God’s providence helping you sitting all over the space, the place (well, some might be standing up). Carbon fiber is rather sharp, but my skills in laying it up have been improving in working with others on those projects, “iron sharpening iron.” Speaking of iron reminds me I need to fix the gas cap retainer on the Husqvarna (not Stihl) 61 after Saturday’s workout on three blow down ornamental cherry trees. “Old saws” can still roar. I was still dehydrated Sunday after bucking and loading the contractor’s dump trailer. Thank you for your writing! (got me thinking about Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba, and Joseph Heller’s God Knows.)

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